This was my final assignment for Cultural Anthropology 2020. For 2021, see the reflections on Is anthropology more important than ever? when I tried a new textbook: Introducing Anthropology: What makes us human?
I. The final chapters in Essentials of Cultural Anthropology all engage issues that are inescapably global. Economics, Politics, Environment, Health, Religion, Media–each of these issues cannot be tackled without global cooperation. As we read back in the Global Age class: “Solving the challenges that face the human race in your lifetime will require greater engagement, interaction, and cooperation–not more isolation and ignorance” (Guest 2020, 30)
Pick one of these issues. Keeping in mind the Margaret Mead injunction, that “people must recognize the defects of the old invention, and someone must make a new one” (in Guest, 352 and see the Sustainability class) describe how we can
- recognize the defects of the old;
- make something new;
- move people toward a solution.
II. Each of these final chapters could be rewritten or at least updated in terms of what has happened in 2020. Pick one and describe what lessons endure. What most needs to be updated?
III. Instead of writing an essay, you can also do something that would be creative and public-facing. Possible examples include:
- YouTube Video: I once received a very strong summary of a Cultural Anthropology course as a YouTube video. Another approach is to do a short lecture, like the ones you’ve been seeing on Zoom, with a PowerPoint or Prezi. Or perhaps try using animation, like my son did with his Random Thoughts (obviously you need to adjust the topic and style).
- Blog Post or Webpage: As an example, I wrote Coronavirus & Academia in May 2020. I also keep a catalog of anthropology blogs that can help you think of different formats and styles.
- Twitter Threads: These have been a thing. Here’s one on Linguistic Anthropology 101 or a good one on Cancel Culture.
- Song: Check out The Anthropology Song: A little bit Anthropologist which has yet to be superseded.
- Podcast: Check out The Familiar Strange or This Anthro Life.